Rugby Union

New Zealand set up clash with Samoa

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New Zealand have ruled the rugby world, having had a fantastic year and remaining unbeaten in 2013. And what lies ahead for the All Blacks is a challenging test in 2015 against Samoa before the much anticipated World Cup in England.

According to BBC Sport, New Zealand will be taking part in a first ever tour of Samoa in July next year, in a warm-up for the World Cup which kicks off on the 18th of August, but will this be worthy test for the reigning champions?

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Rugby fans know what type of team Samoa are; rugged, strong and aren't shy of causing a few controversial moments on the field, may it be a high or late tackle just to remind the opposition who they are contending against.

Their aggression is a factor the All Blacks would have to acknowledge, as New Zealand would have to be strong and confident heading into this historic match, considering the circumstances, but on top of that with the World Cup just around the corner Steve Hansen would have to make sure injuries don't become a factor.

The last thing the head coach would want is Richie McCaw or Dan Carter limping off in their first test match and ending what possibly could be their last game for the All Blacks.

However, this fixture could be a blessing in disguise, and may be the best preparation for a team like New Zealand heading across the country next year.

All Blacks

New Zealand taking on Samoa, their biggest rivals, for a test match could work wonders on helping build the character of some of the less experienced players who would be picked by Hansen.

It would help the team work together, in difficult conditions, on a pitch they haven't played on before, much like England, a completely different scenario to what they are used to seeing.

Another factor is that a dominating win could shake fear into the souls of their opposition, for the best team in the world at the moment could put on a display increasing their chances of a fantastic three years.

In their recent series against England, the All Blacks hammered the 2015 hosts in three straight games on home turf, sure it wasn't England's best team, with a few unfamiliar faces, but they were still a commanding victories.

Hansen will have confidence in his men, as no nation has ever retained the prestigious title, and the Oceanic team will want to win their third championship in the IRB's eighth tournament.

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